|In the past few years, a growing number of countries, states, and localities worldwide have enacted regulations if not outright bans of various single-use products widely used in foodservice, particularly plastic stirrers, straws, and bags – which are among the biggest sources of global plastics pollution. As a result, plastic is expected to lose share of the global foodservice single-use product market to paper and other more eco-friendly materials through 2024, according to a Freedonia Group analysis.|
However, the Covid-19 era is disrupting this trend somewhat, as even the most strictly regulated markets including California and the UK have suspended their single-use plastic regulations. This will provide a short-term boost for the global single-use foodservice product market, which totaled $58 billion in 2019.
Despite the ongoing shift away from plastic, the pandemic has altered perceptions of plastic single-use products, which are considered more hygienic than reusable items. As restaurants reopen, many are opting to use single-use cups, cutlery, and plates instead of reusable serviceware for dine-in guests.
Global demand for foodservice disposables will also be bolstered by surging delivery and takeaway orders, which entail intensive use of a range of single-use items. This trend is highly likely to continue beyond the pandemic, as online food delivery was already a fast-growing trend and many consumers will continue to practice social distancing even after lockdown orders are lifted.